So Much Wine, So Little Time…..

OK, the holidays are here and I’ve finally decided to do something about …..”the wine”. I say it like that because it has assumed that kind of status – you know, like “the monster in the back room” or “he who shall not be named”.

Some background:.  About four years ago, Helene said to me “You’re so uptight.  You need a hobby.  I want you to get a hobby.  Get a hobby so you can relax a little.  Come on, you need to relax – get yourself a hobby.  I sew, I quilt, I scrapbook.  That’s why I’m so calm.  You’re really anxious and nervous and you need to chill out.  SO GET A HOBBY!!”

Well, yeah, I do exaggerate a little, but that was the gist of it.

So, I took up ….. wait for it ….. buying wine on the internet. And I was quite good at it.  I’d find something I really liked, and then I’d troll the internet to get it at a really great price.  And it was quite amazing, because the diversity in pricing for any particular wine could be as much as 30%.  My biggest coup was a case of 2005 Chardonnay from a top Margaret River producer (I’d rather not name it here).  On their own website they had it at $42 per bottle, James Halliday (Australia’s foremost wine expert) had it at $42 per bottle, many websites had it at between $37.50 and $45 per bottle, and I bought a case for $347.88 (which is $28.99 per bottle).  Great stuff!! I love my hobby!!

Now this hobby was quite organic and grew, metamorphosed, and transformed into full-on wine collecting.  So over the past couple of years we toured the Granite Belt in Queensland, the Hunter Valley, Margaret River, and of course numerous visits to Melbourne’s own little backyards – the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula.  We used to do this sort of thing 35 years ago, but what with children and work and moving overseas and coming back, etc, we’d stopped.  Now we really got into the swing of it.  And by the time I got sick in April, I had a collection of around 60 dozen bottles of wine, of all varieties, all in different boxes (with no labels), and all over the place in our front room.  While I was in the hospital, Helene and her mother “tidied the front room”, which is code for “moved my half-all-over-the-place boxes of wine into the dining room, where they are now stacked in a completely-all-over-the-place pile”.

The Problems

  1. It is an eyesore.  I mean really, it just looks shocking.  Cardboard boxes, half torn, different shapes, just lying higgledy-piggledy all over the place.  We have some really beautiful dining room furniture – a table and two buffets made of very dark beech with white glass and stainless steel legs.  The cardboard boxes stand out like proverbial dogs’ body parts.
  2. It’s impossible to find anything.  Every time I go to get a bottle, it can take up to half an hour, and even then, I don’t always find what I’m looking for.
  3. Worst of all, the wine is getting ruined.  There are bottles which really should have been drunk in 2008 or 2009 (or earlier), and that are no longer good.  And it is all getting moved around so much, which is also bad for the wine.

So, I bit the bullet.  I’m now organising.  I just started yesterday, and I’m having a ball!!  My biggest decision though has been: How do I sort my wine?  See, there are a few alternatives – here comes another list!!!

The alternatives:

  1. By region.  There’s something to be said for this.  All the Margaret River wines together, etc.
  2. Alphabetically (by winery).  Those that know me and my penchant for sorting things alphabetically will know that this really speaks to me.  My books, my videos, my CDs are all painstakingly sorted like this.
  3. By vintage.  This really makes sense if you know anything about wine.  However, I only know enough to be dangerous, so I’ve opted for……
  4. By year-the-wine-should-be-drunk-according-to-James-Halliday!!


I really like this, and I have a number of reasons for really liking this (surprise, surprise).

  1. I can now drink the stuff that should be drunk now, thereby eliminating having to throw out bottles which are off.
  2. It still appeals to my obsessiveness (does anal-retentive have a hyphen?)…
  3. It takes the responsibility of how to organise it off my shoulders and puts it squarely on to James Halliday’s!  And I think that that’s what I like the most.  You know, “What?! It’s no good?!  Well, don’t blame me, blame Halliday!!!”


And now, I’m off to the back room to continue my sorting.

17 Responses

  1. Moshe,
    I’m right with you on the collecting, but my methodology is a bit different. You should become a consultant to The Wine Curator — now imagine getting all that wine at wholesale prices. That’s the license I will have soon. But harkening back to an earlier day when I was simply in the Wine Travel Business in South Africa, I did much of the same thing, however you had to buy and collect direct from the wine estates. Can imagine the joy available in visiting all those estates in place of e-commerce as your mode of buying? Overall in about a year, I was only able to collect 30 odd cases of 12, back in South Africa in 1994-95. It’s now all gone, after having been shipped to France, then what remained, the USA as a part of our diplomatic household! Brought none of my super South African wines to Australia, I’m afraid — bar one — Vin de Constance — Napoleon’s wine — likely its off, but I can’t bring myself to open it up and find out.
    Fellow Wine Geek,

  2. Another hilariously interesting blog. I love it. My father started collecting wine many years ago. Unfortunately, he didn’t drink some of the wines early enough. I will never forget the time I went home and he opened a $300 bottle of wine from his collection–this was in the 1970’s, and it was nothing more than the most horrid vinegar ever. So, be sure when organizing, to include a method of drinking it before it goes bad. Love to you and Helene. Miss you.

    1. Thanks Jan. Yes, I’m developing a “drinking methodology” too. Well, that’s just a fancy way of saying “yep, Ah’m fixin’ to drink ’em”.

      Miss you too.

  3. HIP HIP HOORAY! You’re right in your element! There are many reasons for my pleasure in reading this blog post. Here comes a list from my father’s daughter:

    1. I love the photo! You look like you’re having a ball. With 4 books lying open in front of you and the piles/sections of wine beginning to move from out of the boxes and onto the floor.
    2. You’ve made me giggle throughout the entire post. Especially during your rendition of Mum’s lecture. Namely: “I sew, I quilt, I scrapbook. That’s why I’m so calm.” Haha! 🙂
    3. Although I was eagerly awaiting a new blog post about your recovery (mostly for the sake of your wider audience), I am happy and relieved to hear you write about something more pleasant and enjoyable.
    4. Where the hell are you gonna put all the wine?!? I think I might perhaps have some room in my house and I’d be more than happy to help you out on the storage front… hehe

      1. Hey I love the new blog. I get a lump in the throat still, but this time from hilarious laughter. Unlike Gitta I resist writing this in numbered or dot form as I will not give in to your type of obsessiveness…and I am extremely disappointed that you don’t know whether anal-retentive has or has not got a hyphen.
        I suspect by the end of the sorting, it will look something along the lines of the cd collection, whereby every bottle, its position, title, origin etc. will be etched in your memory. I’ll stop now, as I have been the recipient of many a fine (sweet) drop.
        WELCOME BACK…never thought I’d miss the OC (you did once explain that you didn’t believe that it deserved a D at the end.
        Love F xxxx

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